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Discussing Disparities in AD With Andrew Alexis, MD, MPH

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Alexis discusses his Revolutionizing Atopic Dermatitis session, “Disparities in the Care of Atopic Dermatitis in the United States.”

Andrew F. Alexis, MD, MPH, is the vice-chair for diversity and inclusion for the Department of Dermatology and professor of clinical dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. He is also president of the Skin of Color Society.

At the 5th Annual Revolutionizing Atopic Dermatitis (RAD) conference in Washington DC, Alexis spoke at a session titled, "Disparities in the Care of Atopic Dermatitis in the United States" as part of a mini-symposium on reducing disparities in the care of atopic dermatitis, which included a panel discussion.

Alexis spoke with Dermatology Times® to reflect on his participation in the conference and share insights into educating dermatologists on treating patients with skin of color.

Andrew Alexis, MD, MPH
Andrew Alexis, MD, MPH

Dermatology Times: What are 3 to 4 take-home points for attendees from your session, “Disparities in the Care of Atopic Dermatitis in the United States?”

Alexis: There are a number of important racial/ethnic disparities in AD [atopic dermatitis], including, but not limited to: a higher prevalence of AD and greater persistence from early to mid-childhood in Black children; greater health care utilization for AD among self-identified Black and Asian/Pacific Islander populations; more frequent emergency room utilization among Black and Hispanic children with AD; greater rates of AD-related school absences among Black and Hispanic children; and less representation of non-white individuals in teaching materials as well as in clinical trials.

Dermatology Times: What are a few highlights and/or takeaways from the panel that followed your session?

Alexis: Numerous large-scale efforts are underway to reduce these disparities including initiatives by dermatologic organizations, academic institutions, patient advocacy groups, pharmaceutical companies, and individual practitioners. Some of these include broadening of educational materials to include more diverse representation of images and descriptions of dermatologic conditions such as AD. Such materials include published textbooks and atlases that highlight nuances in skin of color as well as online skin of color curricula offered by the American Academy of Dermatology and Skin of Color Society.

Dermatology Times: What can new dermatologists and fellow dermatologists do to educate themselves on skin conditions in patients with skin of color?

Alexis: Utilizing the aforementioned educational resources; attending CME presentations that highlight specific considerations in skin of color; and using shared decision-making approaches and open-ended questions to shed light on patient-specific nuances, concerns, and potential barriers to care.

Dermatology Times: What are some advantages of a smaller, more focused conference like RAD?

Alexis: Meetings like RAD provide a unique opportunity to hear valuable updates in AD from leading experts in a more intimate and interactive setting than larger-scale conferences. Also, having many expert panels allows for insightful dialogue and commentary from the faculty as well as many opportunities for the audience to ask questions.

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